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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Lawsuit challenges new Illinois law requiring two-member crews on freight railroads

Federal Court

By Marian Johns | Nov 18, 2019

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CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) – Three railroad associations allege that Illinois' Crew Size Law is preempted by federal law and unenforceable. 

Indiana Rail Road Co., Association of American Railroads and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association filed a complaint  Sept. 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division against the Illinois Commerce Commission and its members alleging preemption under The Federal Railroad Safety Act and Regional Rail Reorganization Act and ICC Termination Act and unenforceability under The Sunset Provision. 

The plaintiffs allege that Illinois' Crew Size Law, which takes effect in January and requires that all freight railroads must have at least two members, "cannot be squared with these federal laws or with Congress’ extensive control over railroad operations."

They also argue the law will cause issues with their collective bargaining agreement for one-person crews. 

"If not enjoined, the Crew Size Law will cause serious and irreparable harm to plaintiffs and their members, who will be put to the untenable choice of defying the Crew Size Law and subjecting themselves to criminal and civil penalties, or complying with the law and giving up their freedom under federal law to operate safely and efficiently, unencumbered by minimum-crew-size requirements."

The plaintiffs seek to enjoin the enforcement of the Crew Size Law and all other just relief. They are represented by Thomas Dupree Jr. and Jacob Spencer of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher Law Firm LLP in Washington, D.C.; Kathryn Kirmayer and Sarah Yurasko of The Association of American Railroads in Washington, D.C.; and Daniel Mohan and Sean Sullivan of The Daley Mohan Groble Law Firm PC in Chicago. 

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division case number 1:19-CV-06466

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Eastern Division of the Northern District of Illinois

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